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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• September 2020
A Dip of the Tip

• August 2020
The Big Diamond

• July 2020
Nine-Ball One-Hole

• June 2020
Youíll Kick Yourself

• May 2020
Tight Quarters

• April 2020
Cue Ball Control

• March 2020
Straight Cueing

• February 2020
Saddle up!

• January 2020
9-ball Crossover

• December 2019
Ride Those Rails

• November 2019
Up and Down

• October 2019
Money Balls

• September 2019
Captain Zig-zag

• August 2019
15-Ball, No Rails

• July 2019
One Extra Ball

• June 2019
Two-Pocket Drill

• May 2019
Up and Down

• April 2019
Ultimate Rotation

• March 2019
In A Good Spot

• February 2019
Center Cut

• January 2019
Breaking Bad Habits

• December 2018

• November 2018
X marks the spot

• October 2018
Striking It Rich

• September 2018
So Many Options

• August 2018
Put Hangers On Rail

• July 2018
Mirror, Mirror II

• June 2018
Mirror, Mirror

• May 2018
ďVĒ for Victory

• April 2018
Up and Down

• February 2018
Up and Down

• January 2018
Up To The Challenge

• November 2017
Taking A Break

• October 2017
End Game Safeties

• September 2017
Get Comfortable

• July 2017
Shape Up For Summer!

• June 2017
The Selection Process

• May 2017
Two For One

• April 2017
A Ghost of a Chance

• March 2017
Bankerís Holiday

• February 2017
Great Eight

• January 2017
Getting Into Shape

• December 2016
Hocus, Focus

• November 2016
Kicking Into High Gear

• October 2016
More Drill Bits

• September 2016
Hand Model

• August 2016
Breaking Tradition

• July 2016
Drawing On Experience

• May 2016
Proper Practice

• April 2016
Drilling For Improvement

• March 2016
Mind Games

Kick Into High Gear
March 2018

Kicking drills help you assess a table and get creative.

Kicking has become such a huge part of the game. Whether it is kicking your way out of a safety or kicking offensively, it really pays to have decent knowledge of the angles, as well as a little creativity.

Here is a nice little kicking drill that is good for all levels. For players who have a table at home, or play on the same table all the time in the poolroom, the success ratio should be pretty high. Where this drill really comes in handy, though, is when you are getting ready to play on a new table or table youíre unfamiliar with. Itís a great way to see how the table reacts compared to a table you are familiar with.

Start by setting balls 1-6 on the edge of the six pockets as shown in Diagram One, and place the cue ball on the spot. You must use a minimum of two rails on each shot. The challenge is to make the 1. From the resulting cue ball position, search for a path to the 2 ball, and so on.

In this particular drill, I go three rails for the 1 ball, using a tip and a half of left English and high follow. The best path from the 1 to the 2 is a two-rail shot using high follow and a tip of right English.

Shot 3 (Diagram Two) is a three-rail shot using high follow and a tip and a half of left English. For the 4 ball, go two rails using a little right English and follow.

Diagram Three shows the path starting with the cue ball position left after pocketing the 4 ball. To get to the 5, go three rails, using a tip and a half of right English and follow. Finally, from there to the 6 ball, three rails again with a little left English and follow.

course, this is simply how I approached this drill in this particular instance. Each shot may vary based on where the cue ball ended up after the preceding shot, and on the angles of the particular table.

Itís good to experiment with this drill. Get a feel for your stroke. You will develop a good understanding of what you can do when the situation calls for a kick shot, and it will teach you how to create angles that you previously didnít think were possible. With practice, what seems like a system will quickly become muscle memory. You will almost immediately know what angles offer the best path.